When should I buy travel insurance?

When is travel insurance worth the added expense? I outline a few instances when you should consider buying a policy in my new USA Today video segment. By the way, my weekly live broadcast is on hiatus until I can find a fast enough Internet connection to accommodate the bandwidth requirements. (Warning: this video starts when you upload the page, and there isn’t a thing I can do to stop it. Yet it is worth watching, so please click on it.)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on our help forum.

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  • bodega3

    This automatically comes one and I don’t like that. If I want to listen to it, let me click on it. I can’t have this happen when I am in the office!

  • John Baker

    Great Video Chris!

  • Michael__K

    Another complainer who demands something for nothing from a consumer advocate but can’t be bothered to do any research. Consult with an IT professional who can set up your computer appropriately for your office environment and answer all of your questions.

    If you insist on doing it yourself, you need to RTFM and learn how to turn off your computer’s audio. Or RTFMs for your browser and all your browser plugins and learn how to disable plugins like Flash. You agreed to the functionality and all the terms and conditions when you downloaded and installed all that stuff! No sympathy! Geesh!


  • BJ

    I never go anywhere without travel insurance.

  • bodega3

    It isn’t my computer to make changes to it when I am in the office. But thanks for the information….said snarkly! I also find these type of things annoying and don’t think I have to do anything…they should! Sorta like the commercials that come on the TV louder than the regular programming…which they have made laws about to stop.

  • Annie M

    Chris, we advise clients if they can afford to lose all the money on their trip in cancellation penalties if they have to cancel at the last minute for a covered reason, then they don’t need travel insurance. If they can’t afford it, they should buy it.

    Our agency has seen so many unforseen instances with clients – car accident on the way to the airport, heart attacks onboard a ship, death in the immediate family right before leaving, having to fly home for an emergency – virtually all of these are covered by travel insurance. Last year we had a group traveling on a cruise and the only couple who did not buy travel insurance had a moped accident on the trip and had to go to the hospital. They had to pay a $3,000 bill in order to be released. Had they spent $200 on a policy, they would have been out only $200.

  • MarkKelling

    Maybe. :-)

    Depending on the insurance, they might choose to cover nothing. I bet a good insurance adjuster can find a way to claim that moped accident was the result of a pre-existing condition not covered by the policy.

    With that said, I do buy insurance for any trip out of the country or a vacation of more than 4 days.

  • Michael__K

    Careful. You sound like you’re arguing for my POV now ;)

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    ROTFLMAO. Is RTFM another one of those industry-specific acronyms, like PNR and GDS? *snicker* *still snickering*

  • Guest
  • Michael__K

    Maybe it’s not a pre-existing condition but then there are other common general exclusions a good adjuster might cite ;)

    Participating in “motor sports”; “high altitude activities”; “unlawful acts” — did the moped operator violate a traffic law? were they wearing a proper helmet?

  • LFH0

    I disagree. If I am paying $149 for a short cruise, why pay for insurance? If something happens, the amount of money saved by not buying insurance is minimal. And if insurance were purchased, the amount of time and effort to secure such a piddling amount is simply not worth it.

    Insurance is all about shifting the risk of an event to someone else. If one can afford to absorb the risk oneself, almost always it is more advantageous economically and statistically to absorb the risk oneself. Only when the amount at risk is too substantial should insurance ever be considered.